First Ski of the Season

I have been enjoying Fat Biking so much that I didn’t get my cross country skis out until yesterday.  In a way it was like returning home after a long absence.  I spent many years coaching 8-10 year olds in our local Junior Nordic program, skiing twice a week on the Beach Lake trails.  After retiring from coaching I joined a Masters group and enjoyed the benefits of some expert instruction.  But I only made a few sessions last winter.  I used to ride the trails frequently in the summers on my mountain bike.  But last summer I spent on my randonneuring bike, so I hadn’t been on these trails in awhile.

So it was good to be back on the familiar trails.

Now I should probably explain that by Junior Nordic coaching I mean riding herd on a bunch of rambunctious kids and ensuring above anything else that I returned with the same number of skiers that I left with.  To my knowledge I was successful in this regard in all the years I coached. Fortunately I usually had the assistance of a competent High School skier, who not only were excellent skiers, but had some idea of how to actually teach nordic skiing concepts. I learned a lot watching my assistant coaches!

Anyway, my son Will, a competitive Nordic Skier, is back from college and, having raced on Sunday, wanted to do a mellow recovery ski workout.  I graciously agreed to ski with him.  I almost bailed on him though as the temps were in the single digits.  But I saw that my older son Jacob’s ski boots were available.  One size bigger than mine allowed for some toe warmers and I was ready to go.

Will was on classic skis while I was on my skate (faster) skis.  Will was also going easy, keeping his heart rate down to, oh, probably somewhere below my resting heart rate.  So the net effect was that Will would catch up to me at the top of hills while I gasped for breath, my heart rate peaking into the danger zone.  The look on his face was that of “Geez Dad, are you really that out of shape?”. Quality time with my son.

Fortunately we split apart and I suffered on alone, stopping when I felt like it, and not hammering the hills in a futile effort to impress my son.  The trails were lovely with a foot or so of new snow the last few days.

Beach Lake Nordic Ski Trails - Train Ride

Beach Lake Nordic Ski Trails – Train Ride

As I rounded the corner approaching aptly name Agony Hill, I saw there is a new bypass to avoid said hill!  But, I took the hill folks.  Will scoffed at the bypass.  “It’s nordic skiing – it’s supposed to be hard!” he opined.

Beach Lake Nordic Ski Trails - Agony Hill

Beach Lake Nordic Ski Trails – Agony Hill

The bypass is actually a planned and needed improvement that greatly aids grooming efforts of the trail.  Having heard of it in past ski club meetings it was good to see it all groomed and ready to ski, even if I took the high road!

So here’s the deal.  I enjoy skiing, but the fat bike is, well, just more fun! But if you want to get your heart rate up, nordic skiing is the way to do it.  I hope to get a post up soon with some fat biking content.  The teaser is that fat biking with good lights at night in the snow is a blast!

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